Many training plans that you come across and training advice (including ours) will use a range of terms and jargon that you may not be familiar with, if you’re new to training for a 10k or marathon.
Please find our jargon buster below with full descriptions of what each term means!
To help your body cope with the workload, rest is going to be as important a part of your training schedule as the running itself. Listen to your body and take heed of any warning signs. If you feel fatigued even before you’ve run a step, find yourself thinking up excuses not to run, or start suffering a series of minor injuries then you probably need more time off. Taking enough rest allows physical and mental recovery and gives your body the time to adapt to your workload.
Threshold Runs (THR)
After the long run, threshold runs are probably your most valuable workouts. They are run at a controlled, brisk pace – about 80-85% of your MHR. You’ll only be capable of uttering a couple of words to your training partners. Tempo/threshold runs improve your lactate threshold (the speed above which your body struggles to cope with the lactic acid created by burning energy without oxygen), your running economy and aerobic capacity.
Long Runs (LR)
Long runs are vital in your plan and key to racing well in long distance races from 5km to marathon. At first, concentrate on increasing the time on your feet rather than worrying about distance. Start off by heading out for at least an hour and run at a conversational pace or 6/10 effort. Gradually, this will build to 75% of WHR as you start to practice periods of marathon or race pace running. These runs improve your muscular endurance and condition your body to burn fat as its primary fuel source.
Continuous Hills (CH)
Hill running develops strength in your muscles and tendons without putting them under the type of stress they are exposed to during faster running. Run up a 5-10% gradient for 45-90 seconds at a ‘threshold effort’. Turn immediately at the top and run down the hill at the same effort, then turn at the bottom and repeat without any recovery until the rep time ends. Like a tempo/threshold run, a hill session is time to concentrate, as you should be working at about 80-85% of MHR and be able to utter just a few words.
Interval Training (IT)
Intervals help to boost specific race pace speed and involve running timed efforts with a controlled recovery. The effort level is around 85-100% of MHR, depending on the duration of the event you are training for and the length and volume of intervals used. A typical example might be 6 x 3 minutes at 5km race pace with a 90 second jog recovery.
Marathon Pace (MP)
Understanding the pace and effort you intend on running your marathon at is very important. Pace judgement and patience on the big day will be crucial to running your best marathon. Marathon pace practice allows your body and mind to get used to what will be required on race day and it builds endurance quickly.
Warming Up/Warm Down (WU)
When you are going to do any faster running such as Hills, Threshold Runs, Intervals or a race, it is important to warm up gradually. A 10-15 minute jog lets your muscles warm up and improve their range of movement.
Cross-Training & Core Conditioning (XT)
It is important that your training is balanced with some non-impact activities such as swimming, cycling, rowing, cross-trainer, etc. otherwise you are more likely to pick up an annoying injury that will set back your training. More experienced runners should also add cross-training to their regime. Endurance running, especially the marathon, requires whole body conditioning. To achieve this you should aim to work a variety of muscle groups, not just your legs. Be careful not to make the cross-training, whether it is core conditioning, lifting weights, using an elliptical trainer or practicing Pilates, so intense that you are left too tired for your running.